Create Your Own Sticky Faith Stories

Post a Comment » Written on October 21st, 2013     
Filed under: Resources
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What does a good story have to do with lifelong faith in teenagers?

Perhaps more than you’d think.

Several Covenant congregations have been participating in Sticky Faith Cohorts with the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI). Research shows that 40-50% of youth group graduates—like those at your church—walk away from faith and the church after high school. After seven years of their own research, FYI launched a national movement to change these statistics.

This movement is being advanced by churches who come together each year to form Sticky Faith Cohorts. The Cohort is a dynamic learning group process in which churches take the research and apply it to their settings over the course of a year. Early in the cohort, church teams learn the power of stories to influence change. Each team writes their own Sticky Faith stories of “future hope,” describing a scenario they have seen or hope to see in their own congregation.

Here’s a story from Brian Zahasky at Libertyville Covenant (names have been changed for privacy):

Natalia just left for her freshman year of college. She had only been part of our congregation for less than a year before graduation, having had a difficult time connecting with any church as a teenager. After being invited on a retreat by one of our students, she decided to take the risk and join us. Over the course of that retreat, Natalia found a community that accepted her and encouraged her to grow deeper in faith. She started attending on Sunday nights and joined a small group. As it turns out, her inroad to the youth group also became an onramp to the larger church and into relationship with a number of adults. Just a couple of weeks before she started college, I was meeting with Natalia and another student when an adult walked up and singled out Natalia. She wanted to let Natalia know that she was being prayed for on the next leg of her journey. In a letter Natalia wrote to me before she left for college, she specifically referenced the adults and larger community of our church as a welcoming place and a family that embraced her as their own. This fall families in our church have “adopted” Natalia and other college students for the year, sending cards and goodies from time to time. There is also a second family who because of our intergenerational retreat is committed to praying for Natalia throughout her freshman year. Even though Natalia has been part of our church family for less than a year, she felt embraced and welcomed as a part of the family.

This is Sticky Faith in action!

Whether you know any Natalias or hope to nurture the faith of other teenagers you can call by name in your congregation, you might find the Sticky Faith Cohort a helpful process for your team. Here’s a link to learn more about it and inquire!

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